Increasing Sexual Assaults in Ride-Sharing Apps
As evidenced by TikTok trends such as faking a call and sharing your location to warn rideshare app drivers from doing anything suspicious or unwanted, passengers and specifically women have been feeling unsafe with rideshare apps for a while now.
From 2019 to 2020, 3,824 reports of sexual assault and harassment were made to Uber. Across all types of sexual assault, drivers were the alleged aggressor 56% of the time. Uber is presently dealing with a lawsuit from women who claim their Uber drivers harassed them. Uber has argued in court that it cannot be held liable for its drivers because it views them as independent contractors rather than employees. An Uber representative stated, "Sexual assault is a horrific crime and we take every single report seriously. There is nothing more important than safety, which is why Uber has built new safety features, established survivor-centric policies, and been more transparent about serious incidents. While we can’t comment on pending litigation, we will continue to keep safety at the heart of our work."
Uber has safety options, such as performing background checks on drivers when they sign up on the platform and once a year after that. The background checks including a safety screening, checking for driving violations or proof of impaired driving, history of violent crime, and other checks. In addition, riders are no longer required to sit in the front seat and 911 can be called from the Uber App. Calling 911 from the app will provide officers with your live location and all trip details. Ride Check also watches out for any route abnormalities and alerts the company at any unusual events.